Professor Janet Beer, in-coming UUK President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool represented the UK, while Gilles Roussel, President of the CPU signed on behalf of the French sector.
Universities in the two countries have long had strong ties. They have worked together along with European neighbours to strengthen and expand the European Research Area (ERA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). This has been most notably through the successive EU programmes and organizations such as the European University Association.
As the UK and European Union commence negotiations over the UK's departure from the Union, UUK and CPU are committing to furthering these historic links.
The declaration covers the areas of student and staff mobility; joint degrees; mutual recognition of qualifications; and research and innovation; at both institutional and system levels.
UUK and CPU pledged to encourage their members to continue to develop bilateral ties and to:
Increase levels of student and staff mobility in both directions
Develop more joint degrees, including dual PhDs, between French and UK institutions
Advance research and innovation partnerships in all sectors of science
The signing took place in Paris during a two-day British delegation visit to the city.
Professor Janet Beer comments:
"France is our nearest neighbour and French universities are vital partners for their British counterparts in every part of the academy. Over four thousand UK students spent time studying, working or volunteering in France in 2014/15 and the UK is French students' number one destination. At the same time, there are around 200 joint degrees between the two countries. France is one of our top European research partner countries in terms of the number of research collaborations including in fields such as space, cell therapies or energy storage."
Gilles Roussel, President of the CPU comments:
"It was very important for French universities to show solidarity with the universities in the UK, that science has no frontier and that we want to continue out collaborations after Brexit."